Trauma Bites

IMG_6342 Hello friends.  So much has happened since I posted last.  John was rebaptized and life has been crazy ever since.  It’s been about 4 months since his baptism.  I had this false feeling that everything would be a-okay and we would move on and “live happily ever after”.  That has not been the case.  If anything, the past 4 months have been some of the most difficult I have endured since the months following my husband’s disclosure.  John has had slips, some worse than others, several times.  I have been able to handle the fact that he slipped.  I have not, however, been able to handle the fact that he waited to tell me and that he lied about details.  The last slip was fairly recent and completely threw me off balance.

I fell.  And I fell hard.  Back into that dark, suffocating place that I have tried hard avoid.  I numbed out for days and could barely speak to John.  He took up residence in the basement.  I prayed that I would be able to feel….anything.  The numbness was all to familiar and carried with it a hopelessness I didn’t want.  I recently obtained a copy of the “Helping Her Heal” videos by Doug Weiss and had asked John, before his last slip, if he would be willing to watch them with me.  About a week after he told me about his last slip, we started the first video.  We didn’t make it very far.  Dr. Weiss talks to the husband about everything he has done to the spouse.  It was painful to watch for both of us.  My eyes leaked while we watched and when the segment ended I had to get up and get tissues.  When I walked back into the room John stood up and held me.

The floodgates opened and I bawled while he held me.  I cried and cried for minutes on end.  The numbness had vanished while Dr. Weiss talked and it had been replaced by searing pain.  I hurt – physically and emotionally.  The feelings I felt were so intense I almost wanted the numbness to return and protect me.  I’m not sure why his words affected me so deeply.  Probably because, for the first time, everything that I was feeling was articulated.  The things I had tried to put into words and tell John, but had been unable to, were being put into words for me.  I finally understood, for myself, why this is such an incredibly difficult burden to bear.  And for the first time, John started to understand just how much his addiction has impacted my life.  I spent the next few days wondering if the pain would subside.  I cried in the shower, the closet, around the corner, so the kids wouldn’t see.

I went into meet with my bishop a few days later.  In the past, when we have met, I have been pretty upbeat and I’m sure he thought that this betrayal trauma stuff wasn’t so bad.  A few meetings ago I felt prompted to take in a stack of material for him to read about betrayal trauma and he promised he would read it.  At our next appointment he followed up with me and I could tell that he really had read through the material and had studied it.  It prepared him for this most recent meeting.

I fell apart.  I yelled, cried, and said really mean things about my husband.  I questioned God and His reasons for giving me this burden that I didn’t ask for.  My sweet bishop, who covered his shock well, listened to me and let me cry it out.  He also reassured me that if my husband continues to slip and be deceptive that he will need to meet with the stake president, and possibly the High Council again.  He also gave me a beautiful blessing and blessed me that I would be able to discern truth.  I have been clinging to that phrase ever since.

In the past I have tried to protect John’s feelings, but I can’t do that.   I was brutally honest with him about how I felt with this last slip of his.  The slip itself wasn’t even the problem.  I handled that pretty well.  But the images I found on the computer, while not technically pornographic, were definitely not appropriate.  I told John that I felt like I was laying on the ground, the bandaids I had holding my gaping wounds together had broken, and I was bleeding out.  John, who should have been holding me and protecting me, was standing over me and each lie, each deception, was like bullets being shot in my wounds.

I really do hope that he is beginning to understand.

We could have something wonderful, but wonderful doesn’t happen without hard work and complete honesty.

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